You may not be aware of it, but academic steroids are real, completely legal, and clinically proven. I have spent the last 10 months researching, purchasing, and experimenting with nearly every single nootropic available. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic) The effects have been profound. First, with the help of a little caffeine, I am able to study for the bar exam all day with zero mental fatigue. Second, I am able to read vast quantities of information only one time and spit it back with pinpoint precision. It is the closest thing to a photographic memory I have ever experienced. The information is just there on command when needed. When I take practice tests most days I have nearly perfect recall and my only mistakes are analysis.
You can do this for yourself.
The following nootropic regimen is unique in a few regards.
First, the effects of the supplements are synergistic because each of them has a different mechanism of action. If you randomly start taking nootropics, you are likely to take supplements that do not give you a synergistic effect. For instance, acetylcholine is the primary nerotransmitter related to information processing. Acetylcholinerase is responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine. There are multiple supplements that will increase acetylcholine production, among them CDPCholine, alphaGPC, DMAE, centrophenoxine and Acetyl L Carnitine. If you double up, you simply hit a ceiling on the amount of acetylcholine available. Also, many nootropics such as huperzine A inhibit acetylcholinerase. Inhibiting acetylcholinerase has the same effect as producing more acetylcholine. There are so many supplements whose only mechanism of action is either to increase acetylcholine production or inhibit acetylcholinerase. If you take multiples of these supplements, you will hit a ceiling and will not get a synergistic effect. The synergistic effect of different mechanisms of action is very important to the following regimen.
Second, the effects are cumulative. Caffeine and amphetamines actually deplete your brain over time. They are short-term band-aid solutions that merely shift your brain into overdrive before wearing it out. The supplements here actually enhance the structure and function of your brain. They are proven to be more effective in three months than they are when you first start taking them.
Third, these supplements are non-toxic. They are safe for chronic use.
Forth, if you start with the first three supplements to get a taste of what is available, it is relatively cheap.
If you are just getting started I recommend three supplements.
3) Either sulbutiamine or pyritinol
Piracetam is the time honored granddadday of all nootropics. This is a good introduction - http://www.ceri.com/noot.htm When discovered it shocked researchers by being completely non-toxic and also enhancing the performance of normal adults with no forms of mental impairment. Piracetam is proven to increase performance on multiple measures of intelligence. Its effects are cumulative.
It is recommended that you take a source of choline with piracetam. I recommend CDPCholine. Piracetam needs a source of choline because acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter related to information processing.
Sulbutiamine prevents mental fatigue. You can be as effective 8 hours in to your day as you are upon waking up. Pyritinol increases alertness, energy and the ability to concentrate. Pick either.
The blood-brain barrier is a threshold that any nutrient must cross in order to be used by your brain. Sulbutiamine is a synthesized version of thiamine that crosses the blood-brain barrier better than regular thiamine. After crossing the blood-brain barrier it is broken down into two parts normal thiamine. It is essentially a brain specific source of thiamine. Thiamine reserves play an important role in mental endurance.
Pyritinol is a neuroenhanced version of vitamin B6. It is one of the oldest and safest nootropics available. Like sulbutiamine, it is essentially a brain specific version of a B vitamin.
I also take the following supplements.
Picamilion is a designer drug. GABA is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in reducing nervous excitement. However, taking GABA orally is ineffective because GABA cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Picamilion is a synthesis of niacin (vitamin B3) and GABA that was designed to cross the blood-brain barrier. After crossing the blood-brain barrier picamilion is broken down to niacin and GABA.
I especially like the effect of the three neuroenhanced B vitamins. Sulbutiamine is broken down to two thiamine parts (vitamin B1) after crossing the blood-brain barrier. Picamilon is broken down to niacin (vitamin B3) and GABA after it crosses the blood-brain barrier. Pyritinol is enhanced B6. The combination of brain specific B1, B3 and B6 is greater than any of them alone. They are highly synergistic.
Aniracetam is a supplement derived from piracetam. It is much more potent that piracetam and has entirely different types of effects. I take 750 mg of aniracetam and 4000 mg of piracetam daily. The effects are synergistic. Aniracetam is another supplement that you should probably research for yourself. Any supplement in the -racetam family is entirely non-toxic, has cumulative effects, and impacts almost every known measure of mental performance.
Lion's mane is a mushroom that has been used for centuries in the east to enhance the nervous system. Recently it has been discovered that this is because lion's mane increases the production of Nerve Growth Factor. NGF is responsible for determining the rate at which new brain cells are produced. A Nobel Prize was awarded for this discovery because no other substance is known to cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the production of NGF. Six months of supplementation with lion's mane is proven to produce a significant improvement in nearly every measure of mental function in people with dementia. In a literal sense, you have more brains when you supplement with lion's mane. NOBEL-FREAKING-PRIZE. Don't underestimate it.
Phosphatidylcholine is synthesized from uridine, choline, and DHA. Fish Oil has two omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. CDPCholine is broken down and converted into uridine and choline. Thus, phosphatidylcholine can be produced from supplementation with CDPcholine and fish oil. Both phosphatydlcholine and phosphatidylserine are essential components of every nerve cell membrane. Increasing the levels of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine improve nearly every measure of mental performance.
Bacopa is a herbal supplement long used in India to enhance memory. It has unique chemicals that have a mechanism of action distinct from every other supplement in this regimen. Even alone it has a powerful effect on memory recall. It also repairs old and damaged neurons and dendrites. An interesting side effect is that it is as effective at reducing anxiety as prescription anti-anxiety medicines. This effect cannot be underestimated on stressful tests.
Finally, exercise is crucial. http://well.blogs.ny...ess-anxious/?em Exercise ensures that new neurons produced are able to perform under stress. It gives you a higher level of cognitive function naturally.
This is the holy grail of nootropic supplementation. If you go with the cheapest suppliers on the internet, you shouldn't be set back more than $100 a month. $3 a day is what it costs for limitless mental endurance and the best memory your brain is capable of having. You will surprise yourself. I promise you that you do not know how smart you really are.
As a side note, a doctor diagnosed me with ADHD and prescribed me Adderall. I think most ADHD diagnoses are bogus, but I still took Adderall because it was so effective at helping me to study. I still have a prescription for Adderall but I have stopped taking it. I literally experience almost no effect from it. With this regimen, it is as if I am always on Adderall already. Don't get me wrong. I WISH Adderall worked in conjunction with everything else. But the only effect it has on me now is making me obsessively organize and clean my room.
In addition to increasing performance on a variety of mental tasks, many of these supplements are proven effective at reversing alcohol related cognitive impairment. A year ago my short-term memory and ability to concentrate were impaired from all the drinking I did in law school. Today I can safely say that I am the smartest I have ever been. This will work for anybody.
Do your own research. You will only verify with I have told you.
If you start taking other supplements, the odds are you are only going to compound an effect already produced by one of the supplements on this list. They will not be synergistic. If you are really aggressive about nootropics with synergistic mechanisms of action, you can also look in to deprenyl, hydergine, lithium orotate and ashagandha. I take deprenyl and hydgergine off and on, but they are expensive enough that I do not include them in my usual nootropic stack. I caution against lithium orotate unless you know exactly what you're doing because it can be dangerous.
Note: Every person's brain biochemistry is different. There are a certain number of people who do not respond to Piracetam at all. The effect of any one of these supplements might be different for you. There is ultimately no substitute for researching and experimenting to find out what works for you.
Edited by bmud, 02 January 2010 - 08:52 PM.